Thursday, March 7th 2013, 6:54 AM EST
Russian researchers have found previously-unknown bacteria in waters of the unique sub-glacial Lake Vostok, isolated by 4km-thick layer of ice for around the past 20 million years. Now it could offer an incredible insight into our planet’s past.
The finding from the water sample taken in May 2012 showed that the bacteria do not belong to any of the existing classes of bacteria. Before the latest discovery, science knew only one species of bacteria that can live under these conditions.
“The last analysis was completed a week ago - there will be another, but the results are unlikely to change anything. After exclusion of all known contaminants - extraneous organisms - bacterial DNA was detected, which does not coincide with any of the known species in the world,” RIA Novosti quotes Sergey Bulat of the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute in Russia.
All water samples will be brought to St. Petersburg in May on board the research ship Academic Fyodorov, which is currently working in the Antarctic.